Pride Month Resource Kit for Journalists | January 2009
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Pride events garner media coverage each summer in communities across the country, and this toolkit was created as a resource for media professionals in their coverage of Pride events. LGBT Pride celebrations typically occur in June in big cities and small towns nationwide. GLAAD encourages journalists to use Pride events as an opportunity to discuss the history of LGBT advocacy, show the diversity of the LGBT community, and examine recent gains and setbacks made by the community HISTORY OF PRIDE
The majority of Pride events are held in June to commemorate the anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion in New York City on June 28, 1969, which most historians consider to be the birth of the modern LGBT movement. At the time, police raids on bars catering to LGBT patrons were common, but that night, the patrons of the Stonewall Inn fought back. While historical accounts of the night vary, the violent response ignited a national firestorm of activism that brought new visibility to the struggle for LGBT equality.
June is unofficially recognized as Pride Month by the LGBT community, and many Pride events still occur on the last Sunday in June to commemorate the anniversary of Stonewall. In some places Pride events stretch out over a weekend or an entire week, while in other areas, Pride events occur at different times of the year altogether (particularly in parts of the country where June is especially hot).
Over time, the smaller marches and gatherings organized by community members evolved into a highly organized slate of events attracting a broad range of LGBT community members and straight allies. The increasing popularity and visibility of Pride events can partially be attributed to greater levels of acceptance towards the community. While Pride events play a key role in raising the profile of the community and commemorating the history of the LGBT social movement, Pride also marks an opportunity for the community to come together, take stock and recognize the advances and setbacks made in the past year. It is also a chance for the community to come together and celebrate in a festive, affirming atmosphere.
THE MANY FACES OF PRIDE
The number and variety of Pride events throughout the country and the world reflect the diversity of the LGBT community both in the United States and abroad. In the United States, Pride events vary from city to city and region to region. Local volunteer groups, often with the sponsorship of corporations and local businesses, organize most LGBT Pride events, and they include a variety of events catering to different segments of the community.
In the early 1990s, Black Prides emerged as a powerful force and now take place in more than 30 major cities nationwide. Black Pride events, which include New York's "Pride in the City" and Detroit's "Hotter Than July", offer a unique opportunity for LGBT communities of African descent to celebrate their myriad of experiences and identities with their allies, friends and families. Black Pride celebrations originated from the dissatisfaction of Black LGBT people who did not identify with the entertainment or cultural programming at other Pride events. For a list of more Black Pride events, please visit the International Federation of Black Prides. In recent years, other Pride events specifically targeted to other communities of color, specifically for the Latino/a community, have also occurred in some cities.
In many places, Pride events specifically for women occur on the day before or the same weekend as other Pride events. These events are usually offered as a grassroots supplement to Pride celebrations catering to the entire community and often have high-profile corporate sponsors and events. While these events are usually targeted to lesbians and transgender people, they are open to all and usually include a rally and a march.
Youth and young adult Prides have also gained popularity in recent years. These events are for young LGBT people, their families and straight allies. School organizations such as gay-straight alliances come together to celebrate the community in rallies and marches.
In addition, Pride events now occur internationally throughout the year, and they are most popular in Canada, Latin America, Australia and throughout Europe, though events are held in other parts of the world. Pride events and related rallies in some international cities have resulted in conflict and violence, providing a stark contrast to Pride events in the United States and other countries with more visible LGBT populations.
Recommendations for Pride Coverage:
- Seek a broad range of people for interviews, including Pride organizers, attendees and community activists.
- Tie your Pride coverage to relevant local, state and national issues such as non-discrimination legislation, hate crimes, school safety, domestic partner benefits, military issues, marriage and adoption.
- Discuss local issues with the organizations and people sponsoring booths at Pride.
- Interview local LGBT community leaders to provide local flavor to Pride events.
- Interview Pride attendees from different backgrounds and age groups, both single and coupled.
IMAGES OF PRIDE
In coverage of LGBT Pride events, journalists should produce stories and select images or footage that depict the diversity of the LGBT community and the range of events that occur during Pride celebrations. No single image should be put forth as representative of either the LGBT community or the range of events that occurs at Prides.
Pride celebrations may occur over several days, or even up to a week, and they often include rallies, marches, speeches, outdoor festivals, concerts, family events, film screenings, parties, meetings, performances, workshops and other events. Coverage of Pride should recognize the diversity of participating individuals and organizations and the contributions they make to Pride.
Please avoid exclusively depicting the more sensational aspects of Pride. Colorful and unconventional participants play an important role in Pride events and celebrations, but GLAAD encourages journalists to avoid the tendency to ignore the diversity that exists at Pride events. Reliance on outrageous or over-the-top images and footage marginalizes subjects by taking them out of context to depict them as abnormal - perpetuating misconceptions about the LGBT community to audiences who do not regularly attend or participate in Pride events.
- Write a history of Pride in your area and show how Pride celebrations have evolved over the years.
- Write a feature about the process for planning and executing Pride events in your area after speaking to organizers, sponsors and participants.
- Include a feature about your local Pride festival by interviewing planners, vendors, local businesses and participating organizations.
- Write about politicians, sponsors and other allies of the LGBT community and their role in Pride events.
- Cover Black Pride, women's events and other Pride related events in your area.
- Interview a variety of attendees to get their perspective on what Pride means to them.
- Discuss the role that events for children and families have in your local Pride celebration.
- Interview senior members of the LGBT community in your area and get their perspective on the evolution of Pride and LGBT equality.
- Focus on Pride-related cultural events, such as performances, concerts and art openings.
- Include analysis of Pride events happening in other areas of the world, particularly in countries or regions that have only recently begun holding Pride celebrations and events.
As the media have increasingly recognized the value of LGBT stories, struggles and lives, they have moved toward telling those stories in the same way they tell others - with fairness, integrity and respect. To help journalists report on LGBT people in a fair, accurate and inclusive manner, GLAAD offers its Media Reference Guide as a tool they can use to tell our stories in ways that bring out the best in such journalism. Now in its seventh edition, the Guide includes style rules for coverage of LGBT issues from The Associated Press, The New York Times and The Washington Post. For more information, please consult the GLAAD Media Reference Guide. To view the AP Stylebook, visit the AP Stylebook website to order or log in.
CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers
Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)
Director of Communications
COMMUNITIES OF AFRICAN DESCENT
Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)
Communities of African Descent Media Field Strategist
(646) 871- 8031
International Federation of Black Prides